The holidays are upon us whether we are ready or not. This is the first year in a long time that I have remained calm and accepting of all of the myriad tasks left to do. We will be traveling back to North Carolina to spend Christmas with our family and enjoy the joy of Christmas through children’s eyes. We have not put up a tree. Only wreaths adorn our front door. I have not made cookies and most of my shopping has been done online. I am taking the Peace and Joy of the season to heart.
But you can’t expect me to totally ignore the wonderful food possibilities for a Christmas meal. Dried fruits, whether used in fruitcakes or figgy pudding, are a part of the season. Pair them with a beautiful pork roast and you have the star of the show for your holiday table.
This simple pork roast is so festive and delicious that I plan to make it every year. There are a few ingredients that you may not have on hand, but they are worth purchasing. Cardamom is not a spice that was in my spice cabinet. When I saw the price of it, I almost turned away, but being the curious cook that I am, I went ahead and bought it. Cardamom is an Indian spice with a strong flavor. Very little is needed to impart it’s distinct spicy notes. It is used in many Indian desserts and is an important ingredient in the Finnish sweet bread, Pulla. I have seen recipes for cardamom sugar cookies online and think I will make them, just because I can. Pear nectar is another important ingredient in this recipe. Because the pork and dried apples and figs are seasoned with spices like cinnamon and cardamom, a fruity liquid makes perfect sense. Add port and cream to the finishing sauce and you have a dish that just screams CELEBRATION.
Give this a try. I will be back next week from North Carolina with more holiday cheer.
CARDAMOM PORK ROAST WITH APPLES AND FIGS (Cooking Light)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
1 (3-pound) pork loin, trimmed
2 cups dried figs, halved lengthwise
2 cups dried apples
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup pear nectar
1 (14 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup pear nectar
1/2 cup port
2 tablespoons currant jelly
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
To prepare roast, combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub mixture over surface of roast; place in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray.
Place figs, apples, and crystallized ginger around roast. Pour 3/4 cup nectar and broth over fruit. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F., stirring fruit frequently. Remove from oven; place roast on a carving board, and place fruit in a bowl using a slotted spoon.
To prepare sauce, pour any pan juices into a sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup pear nectar, port, and jelly; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until thick enough to lightly coat back of a spoon. Stir in heavy cream; simmer 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.